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Keeping Nasty Nosebleeds to a Minimum

Cold air and low humidity during the winter months can mean more nosebleeds for children, says a Temple University pediatrician.

"Children are more likely to get nosebleeds during the winter months because cold air can cause the inside of the nose to become dry, cracked and crusted. This allows the mucous membranes inside the nose to rupture easily. Once the membranes rupture, blood flows freely from the nostril," Dr. Melanie Koehler says in a prepared statement.

Nosebleeds occur most often in toddlers and school-age children who are more prone to viral upper respiratory infections.

"The normal rubbing and picking that children do when the nose is dry, blocked or itchy can also promote nosebleeds," Koehler says.

She says that putting packing in the nose, pinching the bridge of the nose, or applying wet washcloths to the forehead do not stop nosebleeds. Don't pack the nose with anything because, when the packing is removed, the nose usually starts bleeding again, Koehler advises.

She offers the following tips on how to stop nosebleeds:

  • Have your child blow his or her nose to free any large clots that might interfere with applying pressure.
  • Apply pressure by squeezing the soft part of the nose for 10 minutes. Don't release the pressure until the 10 minutes are up.
  • The child should sit up and lean forward to avoid swallowing blood. Have a basin available so your child can spit out any blood that drains into the throat. Swallowed blood is irritating to the stomach. Don't be surprised if the blood is vomited up.

You can help prevent nosebleeds by running a humidifier in the child's bedroom at night. Apply a small amount of petroleum jelly twice a day to the center wall inside your child's nose. That will help relieve dryness and irritation, Koehler says.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about nosebleed.


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